Sunday, November 27, 2016

Collecting Spiritual Toys

Advent: A time to let go of the toys
Some years ago, I met a young American woman who had traveled to India on several occasions to study yoga and meditation under distinguished teachers... After listening to her life story, I asked her why she was doing this. She told me that she was fed up with the materialism of the West, and she was now looking for the spirituality of the East. I told her that essentially she hadn't changed. She reacted strongly, "What do you mean, I haven't changed? Isn't spirituality better than materialism?" I told her in the past, she was collecting material toys to entertain herself; now she was collecting spiritual toys. The problem was she was still collecting. Her mindset was the same, only the object of her "treasure hunt" had changed... We think what we want is outside, but what we really want is within us. Tony D' Souza, Discovering Awareness
The beginning of growth begins with a simple question: "What do I really want?' The answer to this question resides within us, not outside of us. Spiritual toys offer a kind of security but keep us from looking within. We look to others and things to do what we can only do for ourselves: our own spiritual work.
Like the materialism of the season, we can become really busy with the religious calendar while neglecting the one thing needful: the state of our spirit. All the church observances of the season have the goal of letting Christ be born in us, the dawn of God's "tender mercy" enlivening and renewing us. 
Without that life, we may just be collecting spiritual toys to entertain us.

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